What are the best mountain bikes of 2014? Well that’s a tough question to answer but I’ll give it my best shot. Mountain bikes come in all shapes and sizes these days and are meant for different disciplines and styles of riding. For our purposes I am going to concentrate on cross-country (XC) and trail mountain bikes. These two genres of mountain bikes are the most popular right now and Park City’s unique and extensive trail network mostly caters to these types of bikes.
I’m also going to be transparent right off the bat and say that Jans and our affiliated bike shop, White Pine Touring, demo and sell the bikes I’ve listed below. This evaluation of the best mountain bikes of 2014 is accurate because our Experts have put in the time to make their own evaluations. Our bike mechanics, sales staff, and buyers would not get behind a product that they wouldn’t want to ride themselves and we stand by the mountain bikes we carry on our floor, every single one.
Rocky Mountain Altitude
Rocky Mountain is a new-old brand for us. Our White Pine Touring location carried Rocky some years ago and now they’re back and better than ever. One of the shining stars of the models we brought in is the Altitude. 150 mm of travel with a host of spring rate and geometry adjustments paired up with 27.5-inch wheels make the Altitude adaptable to just about any trail conditions and riding style. I wrote a review on its more aggressive brother, the Altitude Rally, and it doesn’t disappoint on rougher terrain. Where the Altitude is really going to shine though is Enduro style riding where the goal is the descent, but you won’t be complaining about the climb either.
A ride couldn’t be considered “epic” if it didn’t include long climbs, grinding away out of the saddle to high peaks, and endless flowing descents (With some rocks and roots for flavor). And that’s exactly where the Specialized Epic comes in. This short travel XC bike will truly take you across the country. Its efficient FSR suspension paired up with the Fox / Specialized Brain rear suspension makes pedaling up hills a breeze and a lot of fun on the down. And 29er wheels allow you to roll over anything. It is no wonder the Epic is one of the most successful marathon XC race bikes ever made. The Epic comes in a variety of builds and specifications. If you want a $10,500 XC racing machine or a bike for some after-work group rides at a much lower price point, there is an Epic for you.
Santa Cruz 5010
You might remember the 5010 being released as the Solo. But due to some copyright issues, Santa Cruz renamed this trail bike the 5010. The 5010 may just be the perfect Park City bike. Its 27.5-inch wheels, 125 mm travel, and Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) tuned suspension make this a single-track smashing machine. VPP suspension provides a stable pedaling platform for the climbs or sprints while letting the suspension remain fully active on rough terrain. The 5010’s bigger brother, the Bronson, is more capable due to its longer travel. But the 5010 is snappier out of corners and quicker to accelerate while retaining the monster-trucking capabilities of 27.5-inch wheels. Made in both carbon and aluminum with a variety of build kits, you can create the ideal 5010 for your riding style and budget.
You have to try it before you buy it. If you’re interested in one of the bikes mentioned above, Jans and White Pine Touring have a whole fleet of high-end demo bikes that our Experts would be happy to set you up on. Not only will they let you take it for a test ride, but they’ll also explain the pros and cons of each model. Mountain bike manufacturers have different designs and technologies that they think make the best possible bike. So to truly know if a mountain bike is right for you, you’re going to have to demo it first.
Paul Boyle, Marketing Specialist